Feeds

Notorious spammer Ralsky pleads guilty to stock scam

Father and son-in-law spammers face slammer

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Notorious spammer Alan Ralsky faces up to 87 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to participation in a pump-and-dump stock spam scam.

Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Michigan and four accomplices pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to various wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and CAN-SPAM Act offences, as part of a racket estimated to have netted $3m in illicit profits over just 18 months.

Between January 2004 and September 2005, the group used junk mail to build interest in low-value, thinly-traded stocks owned by individuals based in China and Hong Kong.

The spam emails falsely claimed the stocks were about to surge, in a bid to tempt recipients to invest. The gang invested in the stocks while they were low then sold them as they reached a peak of false expectation, before the inevitable crash'n'burn.

The masterminds of the fraud - Ralsky and his son-in-law Scott K Bradley, 38, also of of West Bloomfield, Michigan - face prison sentences of up to seven years and six and a half years, respectively, under the terms of a plea bargaining agreement. Each also faces possible fines of up to $1m.

John S Bown, 45, of Fresno, California, who admitted using a botnet of compromised PCs to distribute spam, faces five years behind bars and a fine of up to $75,000 over his role in the scam. Bown, the former chief exec of ISP, GDC Layer One, served as the CTO of the scam business, according to prosecutors.

The trio, along with their partners in spam - William C Neil, 46, of Fresno, California, and James E Fite, 36, of Culver City, California - are due to be sentenced in Detroit on 29 October. Three others, one based in China, have also admitted involvement in the scam, while a further three people are awaiting trial. The case was brought following a three-year FBI-led investigation.

A DoJ statement on the case, explaining the mechanisms of the scam and charges against the gang in greater depth, can be found here. ®

Bootnote

Ralsky is a recidivist fraudster and unrepentant spammer. He unwisely boasted of his activities to local paper Detroit News back in 2002, letting slip enough information for mischief-makers to figure out his new home address and sign him up to a huge slew of advertising mailing lists and catalogues. He subsequently complained about this "harassment".

His career in spam is recorded in an extensive entry on Spamhaus' ROKSO list here.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?